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[Round Robin] Down, down, down the Rabbit Hole June 3, 2008

Posted by bettynoire in anime, community, ranting, Round Robin.

[In which Bettynoire reveals she is a sap of the highest degree]

“It is a terrible thing to learn as a child that one is a being separate from all the world, that no one and no thing hurts along with one’s burned tongues and skinned knees, that one’s aches and pains are all one’s own. Even more terrible, as we grow older to learn that no person, no matter how beloved, can ever truly understand us. Our own selves make us the most unhappy, and that’s why we’re so anxious to lose them, don’t you think?” — The Secret History, Donna Tartt

The concept of escapism is not something I have been able to understand, not since I had my Methods of Literary Analysis class a few years ago. I started, without realizing, to internalize the theories we studied in class not only as ways to read books, but as ways to read life. Or rather, as a way to observe my way of living life. Though I don’t think I’d be able to name the mish-mash of theories that lead to this one, firm belief, I can’t deny that it rings more truly than any single theory I’ve ever had to read.

I don’t believe that escapism is something that is possible, which is part of why I believe it is the most common hobby of nearly everyone I know — it’s right up there with people aspiring to live eternally after death, and people trying to find a perfect, effortless love. Those sorts of vital lies that we try to live on. I think what we call escapism is actually our attempts to find ourselves — which we mask by pretending that what we see is someone else, and not a reflection of ourselves. This is the only true direction life gives to anyone, in my eyes, and it’s purely from the nature of our separation as individual beings.

In an earlier entry I spoke of the main character’s purpose in any work of fiction, before realizing, in my tangent, that it doesn’t matter what character you like the most, inevitably they are a reflection of you. My disgust at the egotistical possibilities of having the main character be your favorite were completely naive — I was ignoring that ego drives our affection or dislike in all things. Who you are, who you were, who you want to be, who you don’t want to be, who you don’t think you could ever be but wish you could — these are all pieces of your sense of self. These are that things that we notice in other people, in characters: the things we like, we don’t like, we sympathize with. Our ego shapes our perception; our perception shapes our enjoyment. So it follows that anything we choose to escape with, ultimately is a piece of us.

Escaping from life into “fantasy” is a funny little metaphor. In fact, I actually laughed a bit that an allusion to Alice in Wonderland is one of the most commonly used phrases to reference escapism. Alice in Wonderland, in many ways, is a story about one girl discovering who she is — one of her most common questions is “Who am I? Am I the same as I was this morning?”. The sequel, for crying out loud, is titled Through the Looking Glass — if ever there was an obvious reference to self-discovery, I would like to bring this example as contest. So what does it mean that one of the most popular references to escapism is actually not escaping at all? Well, I’d argue that “escapism,” as we know it, isn’t actually escapism — but immersion. The series that, for me, serve to help me most “escape” my life, are the ones that actually help me define myself better, immerse me in it as if I were already there, had always been there.

One of my quirks is that I like to say that there are series I like, or enjoy, but then there are series that are a part of my soul. Yes, I am aware that sounds retarded. I say it like that because it’s more than just having it be my favorite — it’s like the series has carved out it’s own piece of me, or rather that it always had that piece of me and was waiting around for me to find it. There are plenty of series I loved, but very few that I think I could honestly say are or became a piece of my soul.

Black Lagoon was probably one of the best examples of escapism on my part. I watched the whole of it, both seasons, non-stop over the course of a couple days. I should’ve been doing my homework but instead I watched Black Lagoon. Why? Because Revy was all the parts of me that I hated, and everything I wished I was.

Revy is certainly a kickass gun-wielding female, so it’s obvious why anyone would want to be her. People want to be characters that are kickass because they feel weak, and they don’t want to be weak anymore. Funnily enough, Revy is weak. Her strength comes from her weakness — she pretends like she’s strong because inside she’s battling a sense of inferiority. She has an obvious victim complex, and has turned it into a domination complex. That’s where me and Revy are the same. I come off to lots of people as confident and unfazed, but really I’m just trying to prove that I’m not insecure or scared — really, I am those most of all.

Escapism is a funny thing. It’s not something I believe exists but I try to find it anyway through anime. What I find instead is big, resounding piles of ME. And somehow it’s more enjoyable that way.

Others on this topic: Hinano, elezend, animemiz, soshi, myu, blissmo, shizukie, choux, a day without me, usagijen, gia, kaeboo and BUNS.

[…And now I leave to another state with no internet for a week! Here’s hoping the plane don’t crash. *knocks on wood*]


Liking main characters — the myth of personality. September 1, 2007

Posted by bettynoire in anime, community, lucky star, miscellaneous, moe, ranting.

Speaking of personality, some biatch is stealing my bit of being the crazed lolicon bisexual chick! I’m being single white female’d! Though, I’m not really single… or white, persay… The way she writes is how I speak — unfortunately being an English major, the way I write is quite different than that, and this being the internet, the only thing you see is how I write. Blast!

To be honest, she’s quite an amusing read, but it’s unnerving realizing how much my personality — at least, the immediately recognizable traits my friends in real life consider to be mine — are easily replicated by someone else, completely naturally.

Though kudos to her for being able to stomach School Days at all — I couldn’t even handle KimiNozo’s horrible male lead for more than one episode. I kept skipping his scenes in the other episodes I tried to watch before I was forced to acknowledge that it’s kind of impossible to watch a show when you dodge every scene with the main character. It’s gotta take a special kind of lady to handle 8 episodes of some dude worse than that.

Actually, all this blah blah about the startling replication of personality bring me to today’s rant.

In Hidoshi‘s recent post on Lucky Star, he points out his tendency to relate to side characters more than the main ones. One of my favorite rules when I meet people — hmm perhaps I should back track to explain myself.

I have a few rules that determine how I feel about someone’s existence. Not a whole lot, and many of them are silly. Stuff like, if someone thinks Firefly is an awesome show, I form a better opinion of them. Hell, if they have even managed to hear of Firefly I form a better opinion of them. However, if they have heard of Firefly, have watched it, and don’t like it, my opinion of them is a bit less than it was previously. Stuff like that. (more…)

Wading through troubled water August 21, 2007

Posted by bettynoire in anime, community, ranting.

Man, it seems the anime blogging sphere is rife with quitters as the summer season winds down.

Teasing aside, there has been a rise in the amount of people mumbling about “taking a break” and “hiatus“, seemingly having lost the flames of passion they once had for the medium. Or whatever. Situations like this tempt relationship metaphors far too easily. Or drugs, if that’s your preference. Is anime blogging like rock and roll — it’s all about sex or drugs, depending on how you look at it? I’d say that is a marker of our hobby, but honestly I think it’s more a marker of being human…. finding another sort of “hobby” to build a relationship with/get addicted to.

Speaking of relationships, the concept of 2D crushes was brought up recently, the question being — why is it so rare that people remain “faithful” to a single, ultimate favorite character of all time. His answer to his question sort of baffled me, because it kind of ignored the question. Ok, so it takes a particularly unshaken individual to maintain such passion for a fictional character (in essence, loving them without caring about the impossibility of being loved back) but that really doesn’t explain why that kind of personality is so rare at all. Insight into the mindset does not provide the reason for that mindset’s existence.


Semantics, and why Anime is American. July 19, 2007

Posted by bettynoire in anime, community, ranting.

1, 2

I’ve seen a bunch of these type of posts lately, trying to define things, even more than just these two, but today was the final straw. If I were a wittier person, ala Alexander Pope or a certain Mr. Swift, I might feel compelled to write an essay on how the current use of some incredibly common term, such as “like” or “as” has been bastardized in it’s modern usage and how we should either come up with new words to replace them in their new form or solidify the old, correct definition. Because damn, language evolving and changing is such a pesky thing, especially when everyone still knows what you mean anyway.

In all honesty, the questions surrounding genre labels and terminology within mediums have always been a source of debate, in large part to the fact that people’s brains favor certain words in ways that other people don’t. Thus one person using a word to describe something may sound incredibly wrong to you, just because you wouldn’t use the same term. Now, what I mean isn’t something like, one person describes a soda as sweet and the other salty, but rather like if one person were to call the soda bubbly, and the other person to say it was carbonated, and a third to say it was effervescent. Now imagine all three of those get in a huge fight because they claim all three of those things are not an accurate description of the soda — this is what reading these blogs feels like to me. It’s semantics. Aka the most retarded argument in the world. It is, I give, a bit trickier when it comes to talking about abstract concepts or names/titles because at least with soda we all feel the same sensation that is, essentially, bubbliness, effervescence, AND carbonation. A fight wouldn’t break out over describing it that way because we all feel and experience the same thing, which is based on a physical sensation. (more…)

A short pause to rant about a few things June 26, 2007

Posted by bettynoire in anime, azumanga daioh, community, hidamari sketch, ichigo mashimaro, lucky star, manabi straight, moe, ranting, seirei no moribito.

Because goddammit I’m getting so sick of seeing this crap all over the anime blogging community. Long ass post ahead!

== If I see one more person refer to an anime as being “moe” as if it was a goddamn genre, I will start stabbing people’s eyes out
in a bloody trail across the planet until I reach the origin of stupidity and then slice off their fingers and tongue so they can’t fucking communicate such retardation anymore. This trend seemed to pretty much begin with Lucky Star (which is my second rant, but I’ll get to that in a moment), and the internet penis battle over who watched less of the show before deciding it was absolute crap. “I turned it off after 6 minutes!” “…Well I turned it off after a two minutes!” “I got you all beat! I didn’t watch the show at all and I’m still going to rant about how crap it is!” Then came the page long rants about how ‘moe’ is ruining the industry, and ‘moe shows’ (whatever the fuck that means) are an abomination of the anime industry, and other such crap. Can I just have a moment to say how utterly retarded this is?